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June 20th marked the first day of summer. This is one of my favorite times of the year because of warm days and outdoor fun.  One of my favorite things to do in the summer is prepare meals on the grill. You don’t have to limit yourself to just hotdogs and hamburgers. Grilling can be a very healthy method for preparing food. Fish, poultry, vegetables and some fruit can also be prepared on the grill. Consider trying the recipe below the next time you turn on your grill.

Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs

Servings: 6


1/3 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons white vinegar

2 tablespoons McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Chicken Seasoning

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1 ½ - inch cubes

1 ear corn, cut into chunks

1 medium red onion, cut into thin wedges

1 small red bell pepper, cut into chunks

1 small zucchini, sliced

·         Mix oil, vinegar and Chicken Seasoning in small bowl. Place chicken in large resealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add marinade; turn to coat well.

·         Refrigerate 30 minutes or longer for extra flavor. Remove chicken from marinade. Discard any remaining marinade. Alternately thread chicken cubes and vegetables onto skewers. Lightly sprinkle chicken and vegetables with additional Chicken Seasoning, if desired.

·         Grill over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender, turning frequently.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 176, Cholesterol: 42 mg, Sodium: 167 mg, Protein: 17 g, Total Fat: 8 gm, Fiber: 2 gm, Carbohydrate: 9 gm




Vegetarians and Muscles



                While the vegetarian diet doesn’t contain protein from meat products, it is a true misconception to believe that vegetarians cannot build muscle mass.  The type of vegetarian diet being followed by an individual must be taken into consideration when determining what types of proteins that can be consumed.  Listed below are different types of vegetarian diets:  

  • Lactovegetarian: Excludes meat, poultry, eggs, and fish but includes dairy products
  • Vegan: Excludes all animal products, such as fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, cheese and other dairy products
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian: Excludes meat, poultry, and fish but includes eggs and dairy products

With a well-planned vegetarian diet, an individual can consume adequate protein and calories to promote muscle growth.   Optimal protein food sources include meat, eggs and dairy due to the fact that these products contain all essential amino acids that are required for sustaining life and building muscle.  Some plant based proteins do not contain adequate essential amino acids that humans require; therefore, it is very important to consume a variety of amino acids (protein) throughout the day to promote optimal intake.   Depending on which vegetarian diet that is being followed here are a few options that do contain all essential amino acids that can be included in the diet:

  • Dairy options: eggs (these are considered the perfect protein due to containing all 9 essential amino acids),  low fat yogurt and milk
  • Soy options: soy milk, soy yogurt, edamame, soy burgers, tempeh and tofu

Vegans who do not consume any eggs, dairy or animal proteins need to make sure to consume a variety of foods to optimize their intake of a variety of amino acids.  Some examples of food combinations that work perfectly together to enhance amino acid intake include:

  • Adding soy milk products to any meal.  Such as adding soy yogurt to breakfast or on a baked potato, adding soy milk to cereal or having a wrap or sandwich with soy cheese.
  • Consuming grains plus beans or legumes.  A classic example is rice and beans; however you can try other combinations such as quinoa and couscous with tofu, legumes and kidney beans.  Some other examples include cornbread and bean chili, tofu and brown rice, bread and split pea soup.
  • Consume legumes plus seeds, such as tofu and sesame seeds and chickpeas and tahini.

Let your taste buds be your guide to choosing your protein source, but keep in mind in order to build muscle mass adequate protein is required.

Key Take Home Message: You should consume protein at each meal.  Make sure that your protein sources are providing you with all of the essential amino acids for muscle growth and overall health.

Remember:  Eat five or six small meals per day that include protein. Keep in mind also consume a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and plenty of water.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Sports Nutrition Guidebook, 5th Edition


Chances are you know someone with type 2 diabetes. Over the past few decades the number of people diagnosed with this disease seems to have sky-rocketed. In America the increased rate of obesity, related to a poor quality diet combined with decreased physical activity, has set the stage for this growing health problem. Did you know that a condition called prediabetes often occurs before Type 2 diabetes develops? According to the American Diabetes Association, “In 2012, 86 million Americans age 20 and older had prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. People with prediabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes and for heart disease and stroke. Other names for prediabetes are impaired glucose tolerance and impaired fasting glucose.”


The good news is that when prediabetes is identified and treated, the person may be able to avoid, or at least delay, the progression to type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, many people have prediabetes but don’t know it. Prediabetes often has no noticeable symptoms. Some people do develop patches of dark skin on certain areas of the body including on the neck, armpits, elbows, knuckles, and knees. This condition is called acanthosis nigricans. However, not everyone with prediabetes will develop this.


The best way to find out if you have prediabetes is to visit your healthcare provider for regular check-ups. Prediabetes can be diagnosed with a blood test in a doctor’s office or medical clinic.  Treatment generally includes lifestyle modifications that lead to a modest 5-10% weight loss.  These changes usually involve eating a healthier diet and increasing physical activity. In some instances, medication may be prescribed to help bring blood sugar back to normal range. For more information visit



As the warm temperatures begin to rise; staying hydrated is important whether you’re playing sports, traveling or just sitting in the sun.  Not only is proper hydration one of the most important aspects of physical activity, it’s also critical for heart health.  Keeping your body hydrated helps the heart pump blood easier to the muscles.  So essentially, if you stay well hydrated, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard.  Most of us do not drink adequate water and may be at risk for dehydration. Dehydration can be a serious condition that can lead to problems ranging from swollen feet and headaches to life-threatening illnesses such as heat stroke. It’s also important to note; if you are beginning to feel thirsty, most likely you are already dehydrated.

How much water should you be drinking?

The goal is to minimize dehydration without over-drinking. Adequate hydration for healthy adults varies among individuals based on weight, and how much fluid you actually lose during exercise (sweat). Normal fluid needs for a healthy adult is 30ml for every kilogram of body weight.

Example: Weight 140lbs, take your weight in pounds and divide by 2.2 to get = 63.6 kilograms (kg)           

                  63.6kg X 30ml = 1,908ml / 240ml to get = 7.95 cups. 

Water is best.

For most people, water is the best thing to drink to stay hydrated, especially prior to and after exercise. Sources of water also include fruits and vegetables, which contain a high percentage of water. Sports drinks with electrolytes may be useful for people doing high intensity exercise, though they tend to be high in added sugars and calories.


Warning signs of dehydration:         


Flushed skin

Premature fatigue

Increased body temperature

Faster breathing and pulse rate

Increased perception of effort

Decreased exercise capacity



American Heart Association, RD411,


Tip the Balance of Calories in Your Favor


                You have probably heard that the key to weight loss is to burn more calories than you consume; but have you thought about how much activity it actually takes to work off your favorite foods?  The table below lists the calorie content of some popular food items.  It also tells you how many hours and minutes it would likely take for a 150 lb. person to burn those calories with different types of activity. Keep in mind that the actual amount of calories you exert is dependent on your individual body weight. The more you weigh the more calories each activity will burn:





(12 mph)


(6 mph)


(3 mph)

Sitting & Reading

Jr. Cheeseburger


37 min

28 min

1 hr 52 min

8 hr 29 min

Large Hamburger


1 hr 24 min

1 hr 6 min

4 hr 18 min

19 hr 35 min

1 Slice Cheese Pizza (from a large with thin crust)


33 min

25 min

1 hr 40 min

7 hr 36 min

Fried Chicken Breast


45 min

35 min

2 hr 18 min

10 hr 32 min

Medium French Fries


48 min

37 min

2 hr 26 min

11 hr 7 min

6” Tuna Sub


59 min

46 min

3 hr 1 min

13 hr 45 min

12 oz. Vanilla Milk Shake


1 hr 9 min

54 min

3 hr 32 min

16 hr 5 min




Taking this information into account may make some of those tempting foods seem less appealing. Just remember there are about 3500 calories in one pound of fat. In order to lose one pound a week, you must burn 500 calories more per day than you consume. This can be done through a combination of decreasing calorie intake while increasing activity. Reducing portion sizes, steering clear of sugar-sweetened drinks, altering recipes to cut the calorie content, and leaving off cheese and high calorie condiments, like mayonnaise, are steps in the right direction toward limiting calories.   


In addition, making a conscious effort to move more, even in the smallest activities, can make a big difference over time in the weight control battle. See the table below for examples:



Estimated Calories Burned

Option to Burn More Calories

Estimated Calories Burned

Letting the dog out the back door.


Walking the dog for 30 minutes.


Sitting in the recliner while talking on the phone for 30 minutes.


Standing up while talking on the phone for 30 minutes.


Hiring a lawn service


30 minutes gardening and 30 minutes using a push mower once weekly.


Internet shopping for one hour.


Walking around the mall for one hour.


Taking the nearest parking spot and walking 10 seconds to the store.

0.3 calories

Parking farther away and walking 1 minute to the store.





Do the math, if you start taking opportunities to eat a few less and to burn a few more calories here and there, it can lead to gradual, but significant, weight loss. Don’t miss these chances to tip the balance of calories in versus calories out in your favor.



scale 2

Do you find it difficult to lose weight? Have you lost weight in the past, then down the road found yourself back at your starting weight or even heavier? Poor eating and exercise habits can build up over time and can make change difficult, but change is essential to successful weight loss and your ability to maintain weight loss.

The best plan of action for weight loss is to incorporate healthy habits into your daily life so they become part of your daily routine. On average, it takes ~66 days to establish a new habit. Below are some simple steps to put you on the path to weight loss success.

·         Know the Facts

o   To lose one pound of weight per week, you need to:

§  Cut 500 calories per day from the amount of calories you are currently consuming

§  Burn up to an additional 500 calories daily from physical activity, or

§  Do a combination of both to reach your goal of a 500 calorie per day deficit

·         Keep a Food Journal

o   This is a great tool to help you track the amount of calories you are consuming daily

o   It also makes you aware of the types and amounts of foods you are consuming so that you can make needed changes to make your eating habits healthier

o   A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, showed that one of the most powerful predictors of weight loss was how many days per week that participants kept a food journal

·         Add Extra Movement to Your Day

o   Being physically active can help you lose weight

o   You should work your way up to a goal of accumulating at least 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week

o   Simple changes can help you burn a few extra calories during the day

§  Take the stairs instead of riding the elevator

§  Park your vehicle at the end of the parking lot and walk to your destination

§  Take your dog for a walk

§  Purchase a pedometer and count your steps

·         Aim for at least 10,000 steps per day

Maybe you have already been on the journey to successful weight loss and are wondering how you will maintain your success. The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) has been established to identify ways the NWCR members have managed to keep the weight off. Most members reported they eat breakfast daily, weigh themselves at least one time per week, watch less than 10 hours of TV per week and exercise, on average, ~1 hour per day.

Whether you are just beginning your weight loss journey or you have been on it a while, remember that persistence is the key.




chocolate milk


Muscle rest isn’t the only important thing after a good hard work out.  One of the first things you should do after a workout is think about replenishing your nutrient stores.  There are a lot of tips/tricks being spread in society today about what the best post-workout recovery meal and drink are.  Before diving into the topic of what are the best things to eat post workout let’s get the basics of why nutrition is essential during this time.

During a workout, your body uses energy in the form of glycogen (which is stored in the muscles) to help you push to your max and achieve your workout goal.  That’s why it’s extremely important to get these nutrients back in your body as soon as possible after your workout.  Post-Workout snacks should consist of both carbohydrates and protein, with the focus being on protein.  Consuming these macronutrients post-workout provides your muscles the ability to replenish the glycogen stores that your body used during your workout and helps rebuild the muscles.  Optimal post-workout snacks normally are to be consumed between 15-20 minutes post training.  

One of my favorite post-workout snacks is low-fat chocolate milk.  Milk in general is a great post-workout recovery drink due to the fact that it is made up of whey protein.  Studies show that whey protein is more quickly digested and absorbed in the bloodstream compared to other forms of protein.  Milk also has another protein called casein.  The casein protein found in milk has been shown to be digested at a slower rate than whey, resulting in a longer lasting and sustained source of amino acids for muscle recovery.  Many protein shakes and powders do contain both of these proteins and are suitable for post-workout snacks.  Low fat chocolate milk just happens to be my favorite due to the fact that it contains both carbohydrates and it is an excellent source of protein. 

Check out the list below for some other great choices for post-workout snacks:

-          Yogurt with berries

-          Eggs and Toast

-          Yogurt Smoothie with Fruit

-          Protein Shake with Fruit

-          Peanut Butter and Apple

-          Greek Yogurt

-          Tuna or Grilled Chicken on Whole Wheat Bread

-          Low Fat Cheese and Fruit


Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Sports Nutrition Guidebook, 5th Edition